Sen. Ted Cruz lit into surveillance of President Trump’s 2016 campaign during Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Texas Republican thanked Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz for his work on the more-than 400-page report following an investigation of the FBI’s conduct in the Russia probe. But he quickly noted that the report was “a stunning indictment of the FBI and the Department of Justice, of a pattern of abusive power.”
Cruz bashed the Federal Bureau of Investigation and walked through the many errors cited in the report which he called “grotesque abuses of power,” ending his questioning of Horowitz with a scathing reference that elicited some laughter in the chamber.
“I can tell you from my time at the Department of Justice and from my time in law enforcement, any responsible leader when hearing that you’re talking about sending in spies and sending in a wiretap on any presidential nominee should say, ‘What in the hell are we doing?’” he said, speaking of the FBI’s surveillance decision on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“And by the way, the people up the chain who are saying ‘We didn’t know,’ if you had responsible leadership there’s no more important decision than you make,” Cruz added. “I can tell you when I was at DOJ if someone said ‘let’s tap Hillary Clinton’ or ‘let’s tap Bill Clinton or John Kerry’, the people there would have said, ‘What in the hell are you talking about?’”
“What was going on here, this wasn’t Jason Bourne,” he declared, referring to novelist Robert Ludlum’s fictional spy character.
“This was Beavis and Butt-Head,” Cruz concluded, making a reference to the animated television characters.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar picked up with her time following the laughter, saying: “I want to tone things down here a little bit.”
Earlier Cruz told Horowitz that the “pattern of facts” in his report “makes me angry,” noting that it should also anger anyone who “expects law enforcement to be nonpartisan and faithful to the law.”
The GOP lawmaker referred to the numerous errors the report indicated occurred as the FBI went forward in applying for warrants to conduct surveillance, saying it “should be deeply chilling” to all Americans.
“A number of them are deeply, deeply troubling, these are not typos. These are not small inadvertent errors. These are grotesque abuses of power,” the senator said, citing one instance where an email was intentionally altered, changing its original content.
“The men and women sitting at home need to know what’s happening: A lawyer at the FBI creates fraudulent evidence, alters an email. That is in turn used as the basis for a sworn to the court that the court relies on in issuing authority to wiretap Trump campaign officials. Am I stating that accurately?” Cruz asked.
“That’s correct,” Horowitz responded. “That is what occurred.”
“And by the way, what he inserted was not just slightly wrong, it was 180 degrees opposite of what the evidence said!” Cruz added.
The Texas lawmaker went on to note that it was “interesting to see Democratic senators wanting to defend this abuse of power.”
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